Tunnels Quilt Pattern

Tunnels quilt

Tunnels quilt

My Tunnels quilt pattern turned out just how I’d envisaged it.  Don’t you think it’s a lovely rich red.  I’ve always liked those quilt blocks with lots of frames and I’ve used a more ornate border than I often do.  This gives the quilt something extra.  I’ve used the Tunnels quilt block – six blocks arranged in three pairs.  The quilt measures 52″ by 70″ and I’ve used 1.1/4 yards of yellow fabric with 1.1/2 yards each of the red and cream.

Cutting requirements

3.1/2″ squares:  twenty four cream

3.7/8″ squares:  sixty each in yellow and cream, thirty six each in yellow and red

1.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric:  eleven strips

2.1/2″ strips cut across the width:  two yellow, four red

2.1/2″ by 6.1/2″ rectangles:  sixty eight red

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Form the half square triangles

Make half square triangles with all the 3.7/8″ squares in the colour combinations listed above.  Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along one of the diagonals.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line.  Cut along the line to produce two half square triangles from each pair of squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the dark fabric and trim the corners where the triangle tips stick out.  These are now 3.1/2″ squares.

Form the tunnels quilt block

Outer frame of the tunnels quilt block

Outer frame of the tunnels quilt block

Normally I would suggest laying the squares out in six rows of six.  However for this quilt block there are so many half square triangles that I thought it might be helpful for you to see the block built up frame by frame.  I find it more easy to place the triangles correctly this way.

The outer frame of the block is made with a 3.1/2″ cream square in each corner and four yellow/cream half square triangles along each edge.  Place the triangles so that they form a diamond frame as shown.

The next frame of the block

The next frame of the block

Tunnels quilt block layout

Tunnels quilt block layout

The next frame inside the edge is made entirely of red/yellow half square triangles.  Place these so that the red triangles form a frame.

Finally the four patchwork squares in the middle of the quilt block are all yellow/cream half square triangles.  These are placed to form a yellow diamond in the middle.


Sew the squares across each row

Sew the squares across each row

Tunnels quilt block complete

Tunnels quilt block complete


Sew the squares together across each row.  Now sew the rows to each other to complete the tunnels quilt block.  You will need to make six of these.


First quilt border

First quilt border

Assembling the tunnels quilt

Sew the blocks together in three pairs and then sew the pairs to each other.

I have used 1.1/2″ strips of cream fabric for the first border.  You will need two lengths of 36.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt and two lengths of 56.1/2″ for the sides.

Sew together strips of fabric

Sew together strips of fabric

The second quilt border

For the second quilt border I have used a simple square in square design, made using strip piecing to keep it extra simple.  Sew together 2.1/2″ strips of red, yellow, red fabric.  Cut these at 2.1/2″ intervals to give strips of fabric that are made of red, yellow, red squares and are 2.1/2″ by 6.1/2″.

Sew a red rectangle to each side

Sew a red rectangle to each side

Add a 6.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ red rectangle to either side to make a square in square quilt block.  You will need to make thirty four of these.  Sew these together in two rows of six and two rows of nine.  This will leave you with four of the blocks for the quilt cornerstones.

Add a cream strip to each end

Add a cream strip to each end


Cut eight strips of cream fabric 6.1/2″ by 1.1/2″.  Add one to each end of each of the border strips.

Sew one of the six-block border strips to the top of the quilt and the other one to the bottom of the quilt.


Sew the cornerstones to the side strips

Sew the cornerstones to the side strips

The two remaining strips of square in a square blocks will be used for the sides.  Sew one of the remaining blocks to each end of each of these strips.  These strips will now be made of nine square in square blocks with a cream strip at each end and then a further square in square block.  Sew these to the sides of the quilt.

The third quilt border

Third quilt border

Third quilt border

Finally I used 1.1/2″ strips of cream fabric for the third border.  You’ll need two lengths of 50.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 70.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the tunnels quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.


Here’s the video:

I think that this is one quilt top that I would like to finish fairly quickly, so I will try and get it quilted soon and show you how I did it.  In the mean time, you might be interested to see how I quilted the Hawaiian quilt from a few weeks ago.  Click on machine quilted Hawaiian for details.

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  1. Love this one, will make this one . This is one I cant wait to start . Thanks

  2. Lovely!

  3. Kathy Rice says:

    LUV IT! Thank you so much.
    From your greatful fan forever (GFF)

  4. Susan the farm quilter says:

    Love this block and border! I’ve bookmarked it for a future quilt – thank you!!!

  5. Thank you Rose it’s beautiful. Quite from a distance it looks like lace around the red portions just lovely

  6. Hi Rose, this is stunning and really can’t wait to make one, time is a issue though and there are so many quilts I still need to make. Thanks for all the quilts you share with us it is really wonderful and I appreciate the time you spend making them available to us all.

    • Thanks for your kind comments, Claire. I have the same problem with feeling that there are so many quilts still to make!

  7. I am always in awe of your ability to make beautiful, complex-looking quilts seem so easy! You are truly an inspiration to those of us with less creative ability. Thank you so very much for all your help. You are so appreciated!

  8. Great quilt, Rose. Thanks for the tutorial.

  9. Thank you Rose I love this one it’s lovely, so many to try just need more time but one I’ve filed away to try later. Love my Friday nights looking to see what you have posted each week. Thanks again

  10. Rose, This is a lovely pattern.
    As usual a great tutorial.

  11. Oh I love this! The colors are lovely and it looks quite simple, THANK YOU.

  12. Hi Rose,
    I love receiving your ideas every week. You always make it look so simple. As a beginner I think I could cope with this one, and it does look beautiful with the red fabric. I have just finished all my blocks for a sampler quilt, but now having trouble deciding what pattern I should use to quilt it. Putting patchwork together is only part of the job, so any chance of covering quilting?

  13. This looked a little intimidating until you broke it down. Thank you!

  14. Hi! Rose really beautiful I will make one for my grand daugther,thank you.

  15. Jude Stevens says:

    Rose, you make beautiful quilts. Thank you for taking these very complex looking quilt blocks and breaking them down so that someone like myself who is only slightly more experienced than a beginner can make them. The step by photos are extremely helpful & I loved the video on this one. It’s the first video I have watched, mostly due to time constraints of my own. Thank you for sharing your gift with all of the quilting community. Jude

    • Thank you Jude for your kind comments. A lot of quilt blocks can be made in several different ways, but I always try and find the most simple method. I guess that just makes me lazy!

  16. Grammy Judy says:

    Very pretty and I love the way you should such an easy way for us to follow the layout. Very easy to get it right this way.

    Thank You

    • Thanks, Judy. It’s so easy to place half square triangles the wrong way round that I think it helps to look at the larger shapes that need to be formed.

  17. love this pattern, thanks for all your work and Best wishes

  18. Gorgeous! Really lovely, will be making it soon. You are amazing!!! 🙂

  19. Another beauty Rose Thank you

  20. Helen warren says:

    Love this pattern. It looks quite Christmassy in the rich red you have used. Got about three quilts on the go at the mo but this one may be on the agenda. Thanks for all your ideas x

  21. Thank you Rose for this tutorial. This is so pretty and you made it so easy to put together. This is a good lay out for a beginner. I would love to try my hand at making this pattern.